In early May, the Rail Cargo Group, which is part of the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), delivered the first train with Ukrainian grain to Austria. As part of the organized "Green Corridor", a cargo of fodder corn arrived to Upper Austria. The ÖBB management says that in this way they are making their contribution to the Ukrainian agricultural products export at the time of the war. Future plans include at least two monthly grain deliveries from Ukraine to Austria. Each train will have 25 wagons with a capacity of 1,400 tons of cargo.
In a flash interview with for the CFTS ÖBB representatives spoke on the route of the first grain train, the rolling stock provided, and other Ukrainian goods the company transports.
ÖBB said that that the train with corn was the first train with Ukrainian grain, which was delivered to Austrian consumers. Is it true that grain from Ukraine has never been delivered to Austria by rail before?
Before the Corona crisis, small quantities of grain were also transported to Austria by rail.
What was the train’s route from the Ukrainian border?
We picked the train in one of the discharging facilities near the Hungarian border (Zahony) and took it via Budapest/Hegyeshalom to Austria. The final destination was Aschach in upper Austria.
How did you arrange the transshipment at the Ukrainian border? Was corn reloaded from Ukrainian wagons to European wagons or were the wagons been rearranged to 1435 mm gauge bogies?
In fact, we do not have Agriculture wagons available with a flexible gauge bogies. We arranged the reloading in our wagons at the border in Zahony.
Did only Rail Cargo Group carry out transportation from the Ukrainian boarder or any other carriers from other countries participated?
ÖBB Rail Cargo Groups subsidiary Rail Cargo Carrier was also involved in the transports.
Which company provided wagons for transportation?
We are mainly using our own fleet of wagons for the transports to Austria.
The ÖBB reported that a grain used to be transited through Austria mainly to Germany. To which other countries do you supply such goods from Ukraine?
Currently, we run trains from the Ukraine/Slovakia border mainly to Germany. This route does not go through Austria but from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland to Germany. About five trains per month remain in the Czech Repubilc and Slovakia.
From the beginning of the war, the volume of agricultural goods transportation has increased. Are there enough rolling stock and infrastructure capabilities in Austria to provide the growing traffic?
There is a clear need for more rail transport due to the elimination of the routes via the Black Sea. However, European railways have geared their wagon fleets to the transport routes and traffic mix before the Ukrainian war, which is also the reason why we now do not even have nearly enough freight wagons available.
In Ukraine, it has already been announced that a train with grain to Austria will run on a weekly basis. Can you confirm this?
Currently, we transport grain from Ukraine to Austria every two weeks. We are trying to increase this interval.
Does the company plan to transport any other new cargoes from Ukraine?
We do have an ongoing, long-term relationship with iron ore. These transports are still running. The traffic to China has totally stopped. We are trying to compensate this with mineral oil deliveries or other cargo, which are needed in Ukraine.